Japanese company makes virtual shadow boyfriends to help protect women who live alone

[This story from SoraNews24 describes an unusual example of presence; see the original version for more images and seven videos. For more information see the Leo Palace 21 website. –Matthew]

Japanese company makes virtual shadow boyfriends to help protect women who live alone

Silhouettes of karate fighters, bodybuilders, and domestically dedicated dudes make would-be criminals think you’ve got a live-in boyfriend.

Casey Baseel
March 31, 2018

Not only is Tokyo Japan’s largest city in terms of population, it’s also where you’ll find, by far, the most educational, economic, and artistic opportunities. Because of that, many young people head to Tokyo when they move out of their parents’ home, in order to be closer to their workplace or college.

Because most Japanese people don’t really like the idea of having a roommate, a lot of these young people end up living alone, including young women. But while Tokyo is much safer than large cities in many other countries, crimes do happen, and criminals often consider young women who live alone to be easy targets.

To help address this problem, and also to put the minds of female tenants at ease, apartment management company Leo Palace 21 has developed what it calls the Man on the Curtain system, which is shown starting at the 1:15 mark in the [3:29 minute] video [in the original story].

Using a projector controlled by/attached to a smartphone, Man on the Curtain throws a silhouette of a man onto your curtains, so that when people outside look at your windows, there will appear to be a guy inside, thus masking that you live alone.

If you’re wondering how that’s better than just putting a cardboard cutout by your window, Man on the Curtain is full-motion, projecting videos of actual actors (in silhouette) for an extremely lifelike look. Currently, the system has 12 different options, including such intimidating routines as a boxer throwing practice punches, a marital artist going through a karate kata, a bodybuilder working out with dumbbells, and a sports fan swinging a baseball bat around.

More relaxed choices include a guy vacuuming, folding laundry and doing yoga, which seems like it could double as a fitness video that you could do yourself in tandem with your shadowy protector.

Since it’d be easy to deduce that a short loop is a fake, each video is roughly 30 minutes long, with a variety of motions. Leo Palace 21’s introductory video doesn’t get into the specifics of how the system is operated, it seems like it’d be easy to program it to cycle from one routine to the next, which would give you about six hours of silhouettes before any footage needs to be repeated.

Granted, some of the options, such as the man vacuuming or playing guitar, aren’t going to be as effective if a would-be criminal is close enough to the window to notice the lack of sound. But the images themselves are very convincing. While the Man on the Curtain isn’t something that Leo Palace 21 is commercially offering just yet, it is giving away five prototype units [to gauge interest/demand].


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